Salt Lake City Aggravated Assault Defense Lawyer
Aggravated assault is a felony offense in Utah. If you are convicted of aggravated assault, not only will you face incarceration and debilitating fines – you will also take on the burden of a violent felony record, which can raise major obstacles when you are applying for jobs, loans, or apartments, when you are attempting to travel abroad, or if you are trying to join the military. Furthermore, a violent felony conviction will strip you of your gun privileges, making it unlawful for you to own or purchase firearms.
Faced with such serious consequences, you need to proactively protect yourself. Get qualified legal representation from a Salt Lake City aggravated assault lawyer with more than 16 years of experience handling violent felony charges in Utah. To set up a free consultation, contact Overson Law, PLLC online, or call (801) 758-2287 to speak with an attorney. We are here to help answer your aggravated assault questions 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
What is Aggravated Assault in Utah?
There are numerous types of assault offenses in Utah, such as assault against school employees (Utah Code § 76-5-102.3), assault by prisoner (Utah Code § 76-5-102.5), and assault against a peace officer (Utah Code § 76-5-102.4). The two most common assault crimes are “simple” assault and “aggravated” assault. While they share a similar name, the penalties for these crimes are very different. In short, aggravated assault is the more serious crime because it involves additional elements, like strangulation or the use of firearms.
Utah’s aggravated assault law is Utah Code § 76-5-103. Under the definition supplied by the law, aggravated assault involves many different details, each of which must be proven in order to obtain a conviction. For example, the state must first show that one of the following occurred:
- The defendant attempted to injure someone using “unlawful force or violence.”
- The defendant actually injured someone, again using “unlawful force or violence.”
- The defendant did something, using “unlawful force or violence,” that created a major injury risk to another person.
- The defendant threatened to injure someone, and the threat was “accompanied by a show of immediate force or violence.”
Additionally, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant’s actions, attempted actions, or threatened actions involved one of the following factors:
- A “dangerous weapon,” which is broadly defined to include knives, guns, bats, and any other objects that can kill or seriously hurt people
- An act of choking or strangulation, described in the statute under Utah Code § 76-5-103(1)(b)(ii) as “any act that impedes… breathing or… circulation… [and] is likely to produce a loss of consciousness”
- Any other action that is likely to cause severe or fatal injuries
Aggravated Assault by Prisoner
A related offense is aggravated assault by prisoner, which is defined simply under Utah Code § 76-5-103.5 as any aggravated assault offense committed by an inmate.
Is Aggravated Assault a Felony in Utah?
Unlike simple assault, which is a misdemeanor, aggravated assault is always a felony crime in Utah. However, the penalties can vary, depending on what type of felony the offense is graded as.
Other than capital felonies (which involve aggravated murder), there are three types of felonies in Utah: first degree felonies, second degree felonies, and third degree felonies. First degree felonies can be punished more severely than second degree felonies, which in turn, are more serious than third degree felonies. However, any felony charge is a major legal issue that requires urgent attention from an experienced criminal attorney.
As provided by Utah Code § 76-5-103(2)(a), aggravated assault is generally a third degree felony. However, there are two exceptions where aggravated assault is a second degree felony. These exceptions are:
- Cases where the victim has sustained serious physical injuries
- Cases where choking or strangling the victim resulted in a loss of consciousness
There is also one other exception: under Utah Code § 76-5-103(2)(b), aggravated assault is a first degree felony if it involves causing severe injuries to a police officer.
Aggravated assault by prisoner is either a first or second degree felony, depending on whether or not the inmate deliberately caused a serious physical injury.
What is the Penalty for Aggravated Assault in Utah?
The penalties for aggravated assault depend on how the offense is classified. If the offense is a third degree felony, maximum penalties include a criminal fine of $5,000 and a prison sentence of five years. If a second degree felony, aggravated assault is punishable with fines of up to $10,000 and a sentence of up to 15 years in prison. When aggravated assault is a first degree felony, penalties may include a life sentence and maximum fines of $10,000.
Salt Lake City Aggravated Assault Defense Attorney
At Overson Law, PLLC, we are dedicated to providing quality legal representation, as our track record of case outcomes shows. If you or a family member has been arrested for aggravated assault in Salt Lake City, Overson Law can work to reduce the penalties you face, or even attempt to have your charges dismissed, depending on the situation. For a free legal consultation, contact our law offices online today, or call (801) 758-2287.